Qantas could add a mobile phone service to its raft of loyalty programs, with the airline reselling capacity on the Optus network and customers incentivised by earning frequent flyer points.
There'd also be an option to pay the monthly bill using points instead of cash, according to a survey run by the airline's Red Planet market research arm and shared by an Executive Traveller reader.
The survey floated a sign-up bonus of between 20,000 and 40,000 Qantas Points – enough for at one to two Sydney-Melbourne return trips – which could be coupled with, or offered as an alternative to, a monthly earn of between 1,000 and 3,000 Qantas Points per month depending on the plan chosen.
Survey respondents were also asked to rate the appeal of possible perks such as vouchers for airport lounge access, Qantas Wine, Qantas Hotel stays and discounts of 10% against points-based flight bookings.
Also raised: the ability to pay your Qantas Mobile bill with Qantas Points, although a suggested rate of 2,000 points for $10 vastly undervalues those points compared to using them to purchase a ticket or upgrade from economy to business class.
Approached for comment by Executive Traveller, a Qantas spokesperson said "we’re always exploring new opportunities to reward members on their everyday expenses. It has seen us form a range of successful partnerships from grocery and fuel to insurance providers."
Qantas partnered with Vodafone to offers Qantas Points on selected plans from 2016 to 2019.
The airline was previously an Optus partner from September 2011 to June 2015, with the telco's customers earning up to two Qantas Frequent Flyer Points spent on phones, plans and additional services, until Optus charted a "a new direction" for its Optus Yes Rewards scheme.
Qantas' new ploy would see it join the ranks of Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) which resell the capacity of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone.
These generally provide attractive deals without the full telco overhead, although they lack access to the full network of their parent, such as excluding 5G coverage.
Beyond frequent flyers
While the airline's frequent flyer scheme remains the best-known backbone of the Qantas Loyalty division, with some 13.4 million members signed up, recent initiatives have included health, car and home insurance, and its own Qantas-branded credit cards.
Two-thirds of Qantas Points are now earned on the ground, which includes credit card spending – reflecting the dominance of frequent buyers over frequent flyers.
"Obviously at the core of our business, we have a Qantas Frequent Flyer programme, which is all about engaging our members," Qantas Loyalty CEO Olivia Wirth noted at a recent CAPA Centre for Aviation event.
"However, we had quite a diversified earnings strategy which is all about making sure that we can engage our members beyond flying, and so that gives us diverse revenue streams."
This mobile phone foray reflects that desire to broaden the group's footprintinto the mainstream, where Qantas Points are already considered Australia's second de facto currency.
Qantas Loyalty was the powerhouse of the airline's COVID-hammered 2020 financial year, contributing $341 million in pre-tax earnings – as much as all domestic and international flying combined.
The growth-hungry group is now targetting $500-600 million in earnings by mid-2024.
Power up your Qantas Points balance with our roundup of Australia's best Qantas Frequent Flyer credit card sign-up offers, beginning at a hefty 150,000 points.